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What Type Of Sand For Patio Pavers

What Do You Put Between Pavers To Make Them Stable

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Pavers are an easy way to create beautiful outdoor living spaces, but you want to install them properly to keep your new patio looking great. Ensuring they stay in place without shifting starts with laying the proper substrate and ends with locking the pavers together by filling the joints. Sand is the crucial element for both tasks. While sand seems light and difficult to manage, it’s effective in binding the pavers together and is the best way to keep pavers in place.

Polymeric Sand Properties & Benefits

Polymeric sand is simply a granular sand material that is placed within the cracks and joints between stone pavers as a means of interlocking the units and preserving the beauty and integrity of the pavers.

A water-activated polymer is introduced to the sand. After applying the material to the paved surface, the sand is sprayed down with water which causes the polymers to harden. This then secures the sand in place. Polymeric sand is so durable that it can actually be power washed, with care.

As a result, the material wont need replacing, even when exposed to extreme weather conditions. In addition to preventing the need for you to replace your joint filler after a rainstorm, the durability of polymeric sand ensures that water will be unable to seep beneath the paving stones.

This significantly reduces the chance of your pavers migrating, and stops water from washing away the base layer of sand which could cause the paving stones to sink. Polymeric sand will keep your pavers looking great for years to come.

Do You Use Mason Sand Or Playground Sand In A Paver Base

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When creating a sand base beneath a concrete paver installation for a patio or walkway, it is important to choose the right type of sand. Playground sand and masonry — or mortar — sand are both poor choices underneath pavers. Masonry sand does not compact uniformly enough and prevents proper lateral drainage. Playground sand is too fine and washes away, leaving pavers unsteady and uneven.

Sand Installation Between Pavers

Adding sand between pavers is the last step of the installation process. When using coarse sand or polymeric sand, pour some of it over dry pavers and sweep it into the paver joints by using a push-broom. Make sure that the sand fills all the joints adequately and continue sweeping until all the joints are full of sand. When you have filled the joints, any remaining polymeric sand resting on top of pavers needs to be swept; otherwise, it can stick on them when it gets wet. Give the sand about 24 hours to settle in the joints and then add more sand if some joints arent filled in all the way. Lastly, if using polymeric sand, water needs to be applied to it in order for it to be activated. Spray or mist water on the polymeric sand between pavers for about 10 minutes, getting it wet but not wet enough to wash away. This will complete the process.

Contact us today if you have any further questions or are interested in having us install pavers!

Types Of Paver Base Materials

Installing patio pavers is not as tough as you think

Your base will determine whether your pavers remain smooth and level or grow uneven with time. Qualities of a suitable base material include:

  • Allowance of proper water drainage
  • The durability to support the weight and force the pavers will endure
  • The appropriate thickness for your subgrade material

Contractors and DIY homeowners use a variety of materials underneath pavers. Here are some things to know about the most common paver bases and their properties.

Polymeric Sand Can Help Prevent Weeds With Pavers Heres How To Use It

 I need to use polymeric sand on an upcoming job. Ive never used it before and some of the instructions and videos Ive watched are confusing and have conflicting information in them. Have you used this material before? Did you find it hard to work with? Im terrified of having mottled stains on my new pavers! What did you do to ensure your job came out perfect?  Diane K., Roselle, Ill.

Polymeric sand is a newer product thats creating lots of interest among homeowners, contractors and material suppliers that sell the product. Its fascinating to me to see how many building products mature as they march through time.

When concrete paving brick was first brought to market back in the early 1980s, the joints between the bricks were just filled with fine sand. It didnt take long for homeowners to grow dissatisfied with this because weeds would quickly grow and any cleaning efforts washed away the sand.

Polymeric sand is best described as outdoor grout. Depending on the manufacturer, its a blend of different colored sand grains as well as chemical binders or glues that are activated by water. When the polymers dry and cure, the sand between the joints gets quite hard and it cements the pavers together. Weeds wont grow between the joints and the sand doesnt wash away.

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Step Four Sweep It In

With a sturdy broom, start from one corner and start sweeping the sand that you have spread over the pavers. Ensure that all the open spaces between pavers are filled in well. Slowly work your way through the other side as you utilize the broom to lodge the sand between the pavers. The sand should look relatively compact when you are done with this step.

Advantages Of Polymeric Sand

Ordinary sandthe same material used to form a bed for setting paverscan also be used to fill the joints between pavers, so why use polymeric sand? In fact, there are drawbacks to this product, such as the fact that it can stain your pavers. Nonetheless, the product is superior to regular sand in a variety of ways:

  • It improves durability. The binding agents in this product help to lock the pavers together. This will give your installation more strength over the long haul. 
  • Heavy rain will not wash away the sand. The silica and other binding additives in polymeric sand reduce the amount of water that can wash between the pavers and down into the base materials. This keeps the base foundation under the surface sturdy and intact.
  • It deters weeds. Weeds are amazingly resilient and can grow almost anywhere. While using polymeric sand doesn’t guarantee that weeds will never grow in your new or patio, it does help considerably. Ordinary sand is much more inviting than polymeric sand as a home for weeds.
  • It is resistant to ants. Ants will have a difficult time getting into and making homes in the spaces between your pavers if you use polymeric sand.
  • It comes in different colors. Polymeric sand comes in a variety of colors, usually in different shades of gray and beige. So you can choose the color that goes best with your pavers. For example, a shade of gray looks good with flagstone pavers.

Polymeric Sand Vs Regular Sand For Pavers

You might be thinking Ive seen regular sand used to fill the joints between pavers. Whats so special about polymeric sand?

To be honest, polymeric sand isnt perfect, which is why the polymeric sand vs. regular sand for pavers debate exists in the first place.

For one thing, weve seen reports of this sand staining peoples pavers or leaving behind a filmy residue, something that doesnt happen with traditional sand.

However, there are some significant advantages to using polymeric sand vs. regular sand for pavers.

What Happens When You Use More Than An Inch Of Sand Under Pavers

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Paver walkways and patios use sand to keep the pavers in place instead of a messy mortar mixture. A compacted sand bed rests beneath the pavers, providing a cushioned base. If you use more than the standard 1 inch of sand, the pavers will soon become uneven and misaligned.

Is Polymeric Sand Really Worth It

Not all contractors love polymeric sand, even though it promises the best results. The main reason for that is that many brands are available and low-quality products will not perform as promised. Its also to be noted that improper installation will be the cause of poor performance, and might even stain pavers.

However, high-quality polymeric sand installed properly will ensure your pavers look great for a long time, and you wont have to think about replacing it at every storm. The material is so durable it can actually be power washed if proper care is taken.

Lastly, its important to mention that some refilling is still advisable, especially after hard winters. Keeping an eye in your pavers when you go through them every day is no big deal, and you should be able to notice when your sand starts to wear away a little.

The Best Products To Lock Pavers Together

Pavers can be used to help spruce up a patio or make garden pathways to complete the landscaping in your backyard oasis. Such pavers may be made of concrete or brick. When laying pavers that need to placed close together, different kinds of sand are the best choices to help the pavers remain stable and firmly in place.

Sand Installation Requires Procedure

Building a Paver Patio

Adding sand between pavers should be the last step of a patio or walkway installation process. If you use coarse sand or polymeric sand, pour some of it over dry pavers, and sweep it into the paver joints by using a push-broom. Sweep in at least two directions, perpendicular to each other, to ensure sand fills all the joints adequately, and continue sweeping until all the joints are full of sand. Afterward, polymeric sand resting on top of pavers needs to be swept off the pavers; otherwise, it can stick on them when it gets wet. Give sand about one day to settle in the paver joints, and then add more sand to the joints if necessary. Water needs to be applied to polymeric sand to activate its polymer, So gently spray or mist water on the polymeric sand between pavers for about 10 minutes, getting it wet but not wet enough to wash away.


What Is The Difference Between Polymeric Sand And Regular Sand

Polymeric sand is a specialty product containing regular paver sand mixed with water-activated bonding agents. When these chemical agents are activated, the polymeric sand forms a hard, gel-like bond.

Polymeric sand is popular because it creates a durable joint between paving stones, locking everything in place. It also offers protection against weeds and insects that may try to come up through the joints.

How Long Does Polymeric Sand Last?

Once installed, polymeric sand is permanent. But, as with all landscaping and home improvement projects, that doesnt necessarily mean it will last forever.

Most homeowners can expect their polymeric paving joints to hold up for at least five years with minimal maintenance. You can reapply polymeric sand as needed to fill cracks or damage. 

Does Water Drain Through Polymeric Sand?

Polymeric sand does allow some water to pass through. However, it is not entirely permeable. A well-designed walkway or patio should allow water to run off for proper drainage, even if it is constructed with polymeric sand.

Is Play Sand Really Safe

As a parent, I worry about the things my children are exposed to on a day-to-day basis, knowing that their hands easily and regularly go from toys to mouth. So it makes sense that youd wonder about the safety of letting your child play in a box full of sand.

One common concern about play sand is whether or not it contains silica dust.

While play sand often contains crystalline silica , theres no evidence that the concentration is high enough to cause harm. 

Its also important to note that silica is found in natural sources like beach sand.

Ultimately, its up to each parent to decide if traditional play sand is right for their family.

Because of the concern surrounding play sand and silica particles, demand has grown for silica-free play sand products. Same great alternatives for sandbox alternatives for sand include Safe Sand, Jurassic Sand and Sandtastik.

How To Harden Sand Between Pavers

Whats the best solution when the question is: -how do you harden sand between pavers?

Sealing them.

Regular sand, on its own, despite serving this purpose very well, doesnt harden enough. The material does fill gaps between pavers and help lock the individual blocks in place quite well, so they dont shift. But, regular sand tends to become soft when wet.

However, when sealing the pavers surface, the substance also comes into contact with the sand. When this meeting occurs, it causes the two materials to form an alloy, similar to . Thus, effectively hardening the sand and helping to fix it.

If possible, use irregular, sharp-grained sand, as they have sharp edges and bind together better.

Does My French Drain Need An Outlet

A properly designed French drain system does not require an outlet. The water will simply soak into the soil as it flows along the perforated pipe. In fact, a French drain doesnt require an inlet on just one end either. You can construct the drain to accept water along its length, and disperse it underground.

Trust A Professional Contractor To Help You In Paver Projects

Although nothing stops you from doing it all yourself, trusting a good contractor will ensure your installation goes perfectly and your pavers last for longer.

has been providing paver supply, installation and maintenance services for 20 years, servicing Sarasota and all surrounding cities. Dont hesitate and call us if you need help with your project.

Common Sand Types Used For Pavers

While these sand types are perfect for cushioning pavers, they dont work well as joint fillers. When exposed to heavy rains, granular sand will wash away over time. For this reason, polymeric sand is used because it retains its form and keeps everything stable.

Another sand type used for joint filling is kiln dry sand. Kiln dry sand is very fine and contains no moisture, making it perfect for filling in the joints between paving slabs. It keeps the structure of the paving rigid and strong by stopping water ingress and prevent moving or shifting.


Regular Sand Uses For Pavers

Unlike polymeric sand, you will want to use regular sand for bedding the paver stones. The concrete sand and sometimes the mason sand are used for bedding. These two types of sands are also used for filling the joints. However, as I said, polymeric sand outperforms all the other kinds of sands when its about locking the joints solidly.

First, you have to make a road base foundation. Its some sort of crusher dust that is made up of both small and large particles to make a hard and stable base. Once you make a solid road base foundation, you have to apply the sand on that base for bedding. Here, you will want to apply the concrete sand. Alternatively, you can use washed river sand.

So, keep in mind, there is nothing like regular sand for paving. Either it should be concrete sand or washed river sand.

What Kind Of Joint Sand Is Best For My Pavers

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What is Polymeric Sand?

Polymeric sand is a mixture of premium sand and polymeric powder and when activated with water, it hardens and binds to the pavers, strengthening and creating optimal stability throughout your entire paver system.

What is joint sand?

Joint sand is installed in between each paver stone and is a vital part of the interlocking paver system. Paver joint sand provides stability to keep the stones from shifting under pressure, prevents water from seeping underneath your pavers, helps to prevent weed growth and blocks out pests and insects. It is crucial to ensure that joint sand is filled as needed to keep your pavers in place and looking their best.

What is stabilizing sealer?

Stabilizing sealer is a special protective spray that contains the same stabilizing features as polymeric sand, but in a liquid form. When stabilizing paver sealer comes in contact with sand, it hardens and strengthens the pavers joint, just like polymeric sand.

Brand New Pavers Installation: Recommend Polymeric Sand

Polymeric sand is such a great tool and vital resource when it comes to installing new pavers due to its ability to harden and create strong joints.Once the pavers have been carefully arranged, about 1 1/2 layer of polymeric sand is added in between each stone and activated with water to further solidify and stabilize your paver system. It is crucial that the polymeric sand is installed up to 1/8 below the pavers chamfer .

Get Started With Excavation

Paver bases require several inches of excavation. Before you start digging, youll want to ensure you wont hit any underground utility equipment. Calling the number 811 will automatically direct you to your states call center and allow you to set up an inspection two to three days in advance.

When your utilities are marked, its time to dig a base. The purpose of this digging is twofold. It exposes area for the pavers to nestle into, and it clears loose dirt from the installation site. Loose soil is unstable and cant bear as much weight as hard, compacted earth. Removing this layer provides a strong foundation for your paver base.

For added security, its crucial to compact your subgrade soil with a vibrating plate compactor. The more compressed your subgrade soil is, the less it will shift and settle over time. This will help keep your pavers level and in place for longer.

In addition to removing loose soil and compacting the subgrade soil, remove any grass, roots, large rocks or other debris from the paver installation site. This gives you an even surface to layer and build upon.

What Kind Of Sand Do You Use For Pavers

It is important to choose the right kind of sand when creating a base beneath a pavers installation for a patio, walkway, pool deck, driveway, etc.

Playground or masonry sand are poor choices for a concrete paver installation foundation. Heres why:

Playground sand is too fine and washes away which leaves the pavers unsteady and uneven.Masonry sand doesnt compact uniformly and prevents proper lateral drainage.

Concrete sand is the proper sand for laying a foundational base for a concrete paver installation. It is extremely coarse sand so it can be compacted uniformly and allows for adequate water drainage. Concrete sand will lift slightly into the joints of the pavers when they are being leveled, locking them into place. This also helps stop water from seeping under the pavers and lifting them. Polymeric sand is also a great option for laying a base for the installation. In fact, any sand that has angular edges and a particle size of 1/8 inch in diameter is best. Sand allows flexibility of the ground and keeps the pavers from cracking or settling under pressure if the ground shifts.

Do It Right: Brick Paver Installation Methods

Brick, concrete, permeable, interlocking and stone pavers are popular paving options for exterior plazas, walkways, driveways and mass transit applications. These pavers are durable, offer many patterns and design options, are able to withstand vehicular traffic and maintain their integrity in demanding exterior freeze/thaw climates. For the purposes of this comparison, the most common type brick paving will be featured.

Brick pavers should be specified to perform in the intended application according to the following industry standards:

Pedestrian paving brick meeting ASTM C 902

Light traffic paving brick meeting ASTM C902

Heavy vehicular paving brick meeting ASTM C1272

Weather classifications:

  • Type I for areas that expect extensive abrasion sidewalks, driveways in public areas
  • Type II for areas that expect intermediate pedestrian traffic residential sidewalks and driveways
  • Type III for areas that expect low pedestrian traffic residential floors and patios

For more information on brick pavers and various setting methods, consult the Brick Industry Association, .

There are three basic types of setting options for these types of pavers in demanding traffic bearing applications:

  • Sand Set Type F
  • Bitumen Set Type R
  • Fixed Mortar Set Type R

I. Sand Set Pavers

Figure 1: High-performance polymeric paving sand used in the joints of this installation; these paving sands come in various colors to compliment any architectural design.

II. Bitumen Set Pavers

Applying Polymeric Sand To An Existing Patio Or Walkway

For those of you who follow my blog you know I try to keep things fairly short. You can only read so much about concrete products before glazing over. This blog is going to be an exception to that rule. The recent popularity in using polymeric sand has given many DIYers the courage to tackle this type of project. It can be done with great success but you need to do your homework.

When your patio was installed a dozen plus years ago it looked great. The pavers were all new and straight and everyone oohed and aahed. The years since however have taken their toll. The pavers are not as straight, they look a little faded, and whats worse, half the sand is missing, and the weeds have taken over. So now what do you do?

You have some options. The easiest and cheapest is to buy sand, dump it into the spots where the sand is missing, and call it a day. Of course, the weeds will pop through before you pull the tab on your favorite beverage and most of what you put in will wash out after a few heavy rains.

Polymeric Sand vs. Regular Sand for Pavers

What Kind Of Sand Goes Under Pavers

One of the most important things needed for the proper installation of pavers is sand. It is necessary to prevent the joints of the pavers from moving. Just like all other construction installations, you also need a base for pavers if you want them to not move from their place. Sand is ideal for this purpose as it forms the perfect base. You need to make sure that you only use high-quality sand for creating a base under the pavers.

How Many Inches Of Sand Do I Need For Pavers

The standard recommended depth for paver sand is one inch. This offers enough material to grip each paver stone in place and provide a level finish.

Please note that this depth can vary greatly depending on the project and the type of ground youre starting with. If youre unsure how much paver sand you need for your project or how to pack sand for long-lasting results, we recommend consulting with a professional.

But Depending On Who You Ask You May End Up With Wildly Different Ideas About What The Right Sand Is For Those Joints

                Some will argue that the bestkind of sand to use for paver joints is polymeric sand. Put simply, this kindof sand is a gritty material thats put in the joints of pavers. After the sandis set, a polymer is added that reacts to water by hardening. Once the pavers,sand, and polymer are sprayed down, the polymer seals everything in place.

                Polymer sand can be a great option. When it dries, its so durable that you can power wash it without worrying about the intensity of the blast damaging your paver job. It will hold up to harsh weather conditions. And it should keep your pavers in place for years to come.

Types Of Sand That Can Be Used

Patio Paver Jointing Sand

First, we will briefly discuss the type of sand that can be used for paver bedding. The sand being used for this function should be coarse and grainy in texture so that when it is pushed together, its edges move together and lock the sand well in its place. This helps prevent any movement or erosion.

The sand used for bedding is not the same as the sand used for filling in the areas between pavers. If loose-fill sand is used for this purpose, it will wash away over time or upon exposure to water in case of heavy rains. To combat these issues, polymeric sand was developed specifically for paver joints. This type of sand holds its form and keeps your paver in place.


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